Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Magic Cabin

Friday, October 7, 2011

Princess Deer

My daughter is a planner.
She is an individual.
Once she has made up her mind she cannot be swayed.

These are characteristics I recognize in myself.  Characteristics I value.  Characteristics that will serve her well throughout her life.

Characteristics that make Halloween exceedingly difficult.

We figured it out last year.  She decided to be a cow.  Yes...a cow.  Luckily we found a cow hat while wandering through the vendors at the Fryeburg Fair.  An oversized white sweatshirt was turned into cowhide with the help of a Sharpie and a sewn on tail.  I combed the racks at the discount store until I found some fuzzy animal print pants.  It didn't seem to be a problem that they were leopard, not cow print and I certainly wasn't going to mention it.  A decorative bell and a bucket shaped basket (because who would milk a cow into a trick or treat pumpkin) completed the outfit.

It took some creativity, some luck, and some work, but we (I) did it.  I had a damn cute cow for Halloween!

That was last year, but now is now and costumes don't repeat.

A Princess Deer.  That is what I am up against this year.  Seriously.  I don't even know where to begin.  A Princess Deer?

I have gotten some guidance of course.  And it 's interesting to hear about the finer points of costume creation from a four year old point of view.  Brown with white spots, since a princess deer would not be a grown-up deer.  A gown made of grass, since deer live in the woods.  A mask.  A pink princess crown.  Are you getting the picture yet?  Yeah, me neither.

A yard sale last weekend yielded a homemade woodland elf costume.  I think I can work with that.  I'll venture again to the discount store where I am hoping brown, child size faux fur is in fashion.  Might see if I can order a hat with deer ears from Etsy.  If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear about them.

I'm sure I'll come up with something!

Magic Cabin

Thursday, October 6, 2011

App of the Month: MiniMod

It's that time of year here in New Hampshire.  NECAP time.  New England Common Assessment Program.  Time for all third through eighth graders to prove to  government officials that teachers are teaching and they are learning.  Kids all over the state are sharpening their #2 pencils (well, the teachers are anyway), getting extra sleep (yeah right), and drinking lots of water (hopefully, since water is essential for optimal brain performance).  Teachers all over the state are trying to get their students to understand the importance of doing their best on standardized test while at the same time not raising their anxiety levels.  Parents all over the state are...well...actually I don't know this one.  I have a preschooler and a toddler and teach kids before they reach testing age, but I would imagine that parents are concerned and want to help their child succeed.

I came across the MiniMod apps by e Skills Learning when I was searching for apps to strengthen the reading comprehension of my higher level readers.  I purchased a Lite version of MiniMod Basic Cloze Practice for $2.99 to test it out.  I was immediately sold on the product.

With MiniMods for many of the skills tested on common standardized tests, including Cloze (fill in the blanks), Reading for Inferences, Reading for Details, and Word Structure, and reading levels from second through sixth, grade, Minimods are great practice.  The questions are posed in a great Bingo game format that a student can play alone or against a friend.  When my students played, they were engaged, excited and learning.  As a teacher...that is what I am looking for!

MiniMods are pricey.  When you are used to 99 cent apps, paying nine dollars seems like a lot.  However these apps seem to have been crafted with a great deal of thought and meet very specific student needs.  They target the areas in which a student is weak in their reading comprehension and provide increasingly difficult tasks in a format (game based and technology based) that kids want to interact with. Improvement is inevitable.

Check out'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Love My IPAD!

RIP Steve Jobs.  You have the distinction of being a person who truly changed the world forever.

I am in my second year of having IPODS in my classroom and I love, Love, LOVE them.  My kindergarten and first grade students can learn, practice and create independently with them.  No longer is my technology teacher heavy. 

And now I have an IPAD.

Absolute infatuation.  I am enamored.  Besotted.  Bewitched.  I could go on but I imagine you get the point.

If you are a what you can to get one of these in your classroom.  For your students.  For yourself.  And then follow this blog...via Friend Connect or get ideas on how to use it.